Americans are very ignorant
Jan 29th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

US offi­cials flunk test of Amer­i­can his­to­ry, eco­nom­ics, civics. 33-question quiz here []

Their aver­age score on the civic lit­er­a­cy test is 44%, com­pared to 49% for those who have not held an elect­ed office.

I got 97%, miss­ing one due to care­less­ness. Clear­ly I’m total­ly unqual­i­fied for an elect­ed office in the Evil Empire.

Way to sabotage your former employer
Jan 28th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Oba­ma Look­ing To Syman­tec CEO For Com­merce. patent­pun­dit writes “Word has start­ed to cir­cu­late that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma may be close to appoint­ing John W. Thomp­son, the out­go­ing chief exec­u­tive of net­work secu­ri­ty firm Syman­tec Corp., to be the next Sec­re­tary of Com­merce. Accord­ing to the LA Times, over the last sev­er­al days Thomp­son has spo­ken on the tele­phone and met with key sen­a­tors, and Sen. Bar­bara Box­er (D-Calif.), a mem­ber of the com­merce com­mit­tee that would hold con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings for any appoint­ed Sec­re­tary of Com­merce, is ‘extreme­ly sup­port­ive and hope­ful he’ll be the nom­i­nee.’ The appoint­ment of Thomp­son to head the Depart­ment of Com­merce would be an excep­tion­al­ly inter­est­ing choice giv­en that only days ago Pres­i­dent Oba­ma asked Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsys­tems, to lead his open source charge and con­duct a study and report back regard­ing the fea­si­bil­i­ty of the US gov­ern­ment for­go­ing pro­pri­etary soft­ware and mov­ing toward open source soft­ware solu­tions.”

Read more of this sto­ry at Slash­dot.


I cer­tain­ly hope this doesn’t hap­pen, as it would be quite bad for the cred­i­bil­i­ty of a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in secu­ri­ty soft­ware if the for­mer CEO goes to work for the sin­gle great­est threat to everyone’s secu­ri­ty.

The number of builds I’m respo…
Jan 16th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

The num­ber of builds I’m respon­si­ble for just hit 300. :-/

All caught up on scanning.
Jan 15th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

All caught up on scan­ning.

Going in to the office for the…
Jan 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Going in to the office for the first time since June. I haven’t missed it.

Because people are not ants
Jan 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Open-plan offices make work­ers sick. “Aus­tralian sci­en­tists have reviewed a glob­al pool of research into the effect of mod­ern office design, con­clud­ing the switch to open-plan has led to low­er pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and high­er work­er stress.”

Need to hire a real­ly great pro­gram­mer? Want a job that doesn’t dri­ve you crazy? Vis­it the Joel on Soft­ware Job Board: Great soft­ware jobs, great peo­ple.

[Joel on Soft­ware]

I’m not sur­prised. It was Symantec’s deci­sion to switch to an open office plan at their new Cul­ver City facil­i­ty that led to me work­ing from home full-time, and on those rare occa­sions when I am in my assigned space there I find it almost impos­si­ble to accom­plish any­thing that requires seri­ous thought or con­cen­tra­tion.

Walking around Koreatown while…
Jan 11th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Walk­ing around Kore­atown while my scan­ner works.

Scanning photos of Javier Dunn…
Jan 11th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Scan­ning pho­tos of Javier Dunn.

Patent trolls attack
Jan 9th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Microsoft, Syman­tec, more sued over OS per­mis­sions patent.

A small Texas firm has filed a law­suit against more than 20 com­pa­nies, includ­ing Microsoft, AVG, and Nov­ell, for vio­lat­ing its patents over data per­mis­sions and appli­ca­tion authen­ti­ca­tion. It is unclear whether the firm may actu­al­ly have a leg to stand on, but it cer­tain­ly didn’t show restraint when pick­ing who to face off against in court.

Read More…

[Ars Tech­ni­ca]

There’s anoth­er very sim­i­lar sto­ry on Ars Tech­ni­ca: 36 com­pa­nies named in parental con­trol infringe­ment law­suit. These things are nev­er real­ly about damages–rather, the com­pa­ny hold­ing the bogus patent (which invari­ably exists for the sole pur­pose of col­lect­ing bogus patents) sues some big com­pa­ny, esti­mates how much it will cost to fight the law­suit, and then offers to set­tle. For exam­ple, let’s say that the patent trolls in Texas fig­ure that it will cost Syman­tec five mil­lion dol­lars to fight the law­suit (which every­one knows Syman­tec would win), so they offer to set­tle for $2.5 mil­lion. It’s basi­cal­ly a form of extor­tion which is legal in the US.

Garageband ’09 “Artist Lessons”
Jan 8th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

I came across this com­ment on Mac­In­Touch:

iLife 09’s “killer appli­ca­tion” has to be Garage Band’s Artist Lessons. Not because it’s a cool way to learn music. Nor because it is anoth­er rev­enue stream for Apple.

It’s an attempt by Apple to cir­cum­vent the music indus­try labels. iTunes is a pre­ferred gate­way to new music for many con­sumers already. But in order to get that music Apple is still hav­ing to use the inter­me­di­aries who own the dis­tri­b­u­tion rights to those tracks.

Now Apple is cre­at­ing a com­pre­hen­sive 3-way link between the fan, the artist and Apple. At some point the tra­di­tion­al dis­tri­b­u­tion medi­um and cor­po­rate appa­ra­tus will become moot under this arrange­ment as the artists will less and less rely on a label and can have the abil­i­ty to inter­act with fans at a tru­ly indi­vid­ual and per­son­al lev­el.

Future artists will get their expo­sure direct­ly via por­tals like iTunes, and with fea­tures like Artist Lessons can add val­ue to the expe­ri­ence, some­thing that entire­ly bypass­es the cur­rent dis­tri­b­u­tion and pro­mo­tion sys­tem.

It’s a bril­liant end-run against the estab­lished indus­try. Cer­tain­ly it won’t work for some gen­res in the teas­er form we saw at the keynote, but it def­i­nite­ly opens up inter­est­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties when fans can inter­act direct­ly with artists with an agnos­tic tech­ni­cal enabler like Apple get­ting a cut of the trans­ac­tion. Labels will increas­ing­ly see new artists bypass their sys­tem for this more direct inter­ac­tion and will become reliant on lega­cy cat­a­logues alone. They’ll lose clout over iTunes mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion tech­niques and costs. Noth­ing val­ue added from the estab­lished indus­try has worked since the music video rev­o­lu­tion almost 20 years ago. Artists Lessons and deriv­a­tives have the poten­tial to be just as tran­scend­ing. It has that mass mar­ket pop­ulist streak to it that goes to the heart of Apple’s design fort?.

In its cur­rent form the prod­uct needs work to get beyond Apple’s often over­ly cute aes­thet­ic steril­i­ty (sex, drugs, and Fogerty’s “bright” chords?) but it is nev­er­the­less strate­gi­cal­ly inno­v­a­tive.

TS Low

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